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Big boost for Qld critical minerals project

11 December 2019

Joint media release with the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator the Hon Matt Canavan and Senator for Queensland the Hon Susan McDonald

The Morrison Government is positioning Australia as a key global player in critical minerals, granting Major Project Status to a project in regional Queensland that is expected to create hundreds of local jobs.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Government is committed to backing projects that will boost local jobs and create opportunities for regional businesses.

“Not only do projects like this hold enormous economic potential for local communities, they also generate millions of dollars for the Australian economy,” Minister Andrews said.

“Granting Major Project Status demonstrates the Morrison Government’s support for companies with nation-building plans, especially in areas which are of significant value to overseas markets.”

The Saint Elmo Vanadium Project near Julia Creek in North West Queensland will develop an open cut mine for the production of vanadium, a key material in manufacturing batteries, particularly suited to renewable energy storage. It will create more than 200 jobs during construction, with hundreds more to follow once the mine is operational and as its output grows.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said there is increasing global demand for rare earths and valuable resources like vanadium, which are on the critical minerals list in Australia and the US.

“Australia is cementing its place as a powerhouse for critical minerals and rare earth production now and into the future,” Minister Canavan said.

“My recent trip to the US focused heavily on strengthening US-Australia ties on critical minerals, and this project will be one of many that will benefit from the opportunities provided by this collaboration.

“Granting Major Project Status to Saint Elmo is evidence of this Government’s support to this vitally important sector which has everyday applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy and smart phones.”

North Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said the North West Minerals Province can potentially provide long-term, well-paying jobs for thousands of people, long into the future.

“People in regional Queensland deserve the chance to pursue lucrative careers in the mining and resources industries,” she said.

“The advent of rare earths comes at a perfect time to complement existing mining ventures and gives young people an incentive to stay or move to our brilliant Outback.”

Executive Director of Multicom Resources Limited Nathan Cammerman welcomed the Major Project Status awarded to the company’s Saint Elmo Vanadium Project.

“The designation sends a clear signal to our international partners that the Australian Government is committed to enabling critical minerals projects. Support with the final project construction and development approvals required for the project will also help towards significant employment and economic outcomes for the Julia Creek and broader North Queensland region,” Mr Cammerman said.

Construction of the Saint Elmo Project is expected next year, with the first vanadium exports in 2021.

Major Project Status is the Commonwealth Government’s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to Australia. It provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Commonwealth Government approvals, project support and coordination, and help with state and territory approvals.

For more information on the Major Projects Facilitation Agency and the full list of current major projects, visit business.gov.au/mpfa

Media contacts:

Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070

Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180

Senator McDonald's office 02 6277 3635